Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Song Review: Chammak Challo (Ra.One)

Film: Ra.One (Release Date: October 26, 2011)
Singer: Akon
Composers: Vishal and Shekhar

(I'm not gonna bother with a YouTube link to the song just yet. Since the song was leaked online, it'll just keep getting removed. So search for it and I'm sure you'll find it!)

When I first heard that R&B superstar Akon would be recording a couple songs for Ra.One, I was afraid. Very afraid. It could either go terribly wrong, or have the potential to be a super hit (but probably nothing in between). Thankfully, "Chammak Challo" falls in the latter category!

If you're not familiar with Akon and his voice/style, it may take a while for you to warm up to the song. But I assure you--you will!  The track starts off strong and is able to continue with the same strength until the very end, never losing it's high energy pace. It's surprisingly catchy and will probably get stuck in your head whether you like it or not.

Akon did an amazing job. First of all, he's a superstar in the American music scene, and is Senegalese-American. Despite his lack of complete familiarity with Bollywood and India, his Hindi pronunciation is really, truly impressive. There is no hint of an American accent in his Hindi lines (quite a feat!) and the words seem to flow naturally. Katrina Kaif could learn something from this guy! And even though Akon is singing for a different market and audience, he maintains his personal musical style in the song.

I usually hate when English is used in Bollywood songs. It tends to sound forced, unnatural, and the singers' Indian accents don't help much with that "cool" factor they're probably going for. "Chammak Challo" is the perfect example of how an English-Hindi fusion in a song can actually work. Akon's grasp of both languages defeats that usual awkwardness factor that comes out of these language fusion songs. The lyrics also help with this, with lingo English lingo that is popular in R&B songs and Hindi lyrics that are typical of Bollywood tracks.

The best part of this song? It's apparently going to be an item number picturized on Kareena Kapoor! This makes me happy for two reasons. One, I LOVE item songs with a passion. Two, I'm just glad they're not gonna have Shahrukh Khan lip synch to this (hopefully?!). I love love love SRK, but imagine the awkwardness that could come of out that. The chorus (my favorite part of the song) is also perfectly suited for a dance number, so I'm excited to see what could come of this.

"Chammak Challo" is a unique song, but one that is sure to be a hit. It's also a great marketing ploy for Ra.One, which will now get wider recognition within second generation NRI communities, as well as non-Indian Akon fans. It's a step forward in the current globalization of Hindi cinema--whether that's a good thing or not, is up to you.

Overall, I absolutely adore this song, despite my usual inhibitions about Western singers in Bollywood. Akon has reportedly also sung another song for Ra.One so, seeing as how this wasn't a disaster, I'm actually kind of excited to hear it. And yes, Akon, I'd love to be your Chammak Challo!

Final Verdict: 4.5/5


  1. Why do you always steal my thoughts when it comes to everything SRK-related?

    I was anxious too and was delightfully surprised.

    I have heard that Shahrukh took Bharatanatyam classes for this song, so I think he is in it. But I'm not sure.

  2. @Siham I heard about SRK's Bnat training but didn't know it was for this song? I kind of hope not! I think Akon is singing 2 songs for Ra.One so maybe he's featured in the other one. But in either case, SRK lip synching to Akon could be so awkward!!! I'm sure we'd still find a way to love it though =D

  3. Well, several articles stated that he would be dancing Bharatanatyam to Chammak Challo. I've heard that Kareena will also "groove" to the beats of Akon's other song as well. (but I did not hear of SRK doing the same Well, I am also anxious but kinda looking forward to see the result. I trust Shahrukh on this.

    I'm so addicted to CC now. I just love the Arabic feel to it, I just love the BW/Arabic/Western mix.

    Yeah, I'm also sure we will find a way to love it. In any case.

  4. @Siham I definitely trust your Bolly gossip mongering abilities hehe :) I'm really anxious to see the picturization of this song now!

  5. Hahaha. When it comes to Shahrukh, everyday, I'm reading the news about him like mad. LOL. I'm just an obsessive fangirl.

    Yeah I cannot wait to see the picturisation too. I hope it'll be great.

  6. excellent song.beware,it will set into ur minds!

  7. @Siham I totally relate to your fangirl tendencies. Now that I'm out of school and unemployed, I suspect they will only heighten!

    @Eajaz This is supposedly an early cut, and it already sounds excellent!

  8. best of all song...?? hope dildara song would b better than this

  9. i absolutely love the way akon pulled off this song... fantastic!
    i also like the female part by hamsika iyer... its amazing!

  10. it gonna be a huge blockbuster all over the world and it's gonna change the level of Indian cinema. and those who are saying that it's a Hollywood copy, i would say it's better to take a little concept from Hollywood rather than making the exact copy of Telugu movies ........